Tag Archives: #Doris Graham Cleage

The Cherry Tree – 1934

In tree 1934
Doris Graham

My mother in the spring of 1934 standing on a box by the cherry tree in the backyard.

Mershell C Graham picking cherries.

I’m not sure what kind of cherries these were, but here is a picture of my grandfather picking cherries the year before. If they were pie cherries, I’m sure my grandmother made pies. There was also an apple tree, a garden and chickens in their Detroit backyard.

With the chickens Mershell, Fannie and Doris.
Spring 1934. Mary V, mother, Bonzo and Doris .

My aunt Mary Vee was 13 years old. My grandmother Fannie was 46. My mother Doris was 11. Bonzo was five years old. It looks like they are just back from church service at Plymouth Congregational Church.

In 1934 they got their first car, a model A named “Lizzie”, which I wrote about a few weeks ago. My grandfather worked as a stock keeper at the Ford Motor Company Rouge Plant. My grandmother didn’t work outside of the home. Mary Vee attended Eastern high school and Doris attended Barber Intermediate school.

I remember a summer in the 1990s when my husband worked for the Michigan Department of Transportation. One year they were building Highway 31 from Pentwater to Ludington. The route went through some orchards which were doomed to be bulldozed. One July weekend we went and picked so many cherries! There were red and black and yellow and they were fully ripe. We went a few times. Never have we eaten so many cherries. So delicious and so sad the trees were destroyed.

P – PLYMOUTH Congregational Church – 1928

Lizzie

Lizzie

A model A Ford that looks like Lizzie

When I decided to write about my grandfather Mershell’s car, Lizzie, I thought it was a model T, but when I went looking at pages that tell you how to tell whether a car is a model “A” or model “T”, and what year it was made in, I found that based on the shape of the headlights, the bumper, the running board and the doors, that it was a Model “A” Tudor sedan and built in 1931. I was happy to find the note below in my grandfather’s little notebook. I remembered various stickers on the back window and thought it must have been purchased used and the note also mentions that.

Lizzie stats
From Poppy’s notebook – Ford Car – Model A Motor  No – 3068244 License No. 13-520 –  1934 Mileage when purchased 43.985 miles

Lizzie, my grandfather Poppy’s old Model A Ford, was the first car that was a regular part of my life. We didn’t have our own family car until I was eight. Lizzie was black with a running board and awning-striped shades on the windows. We pulled them down when we changed for swimming at Belle Isle.

Poppy didn’t have a garage. The back of his yard was taken up in a large vegetable and flower garden with a winding path and bird feeder, so he rented a garage from a neighbor across the alley. Was it the family with all the kids?  I don’t remember. I do remember my mother telling me one of their sons mentioned to Poppy something about his pretty granddaughter and I figured she was going to say Dee Dee, my older, beautiful cousin. At the time I was skinny with glasses and hair in two braids. I was truly surprised when she said he was talking about me. Come to think of it, he was skinny with glasses too. Anyway, I don’t remember ever talking or playing with him or any of my grandparent’s neighbors. We stayed in the house or yard making up plays, building fairy castles, playing imaginary land and swinging.

In Poppy's garden
Pearl, Barbara, Kristin with Poppy in the garden.

Back to Lizzie. Poppy did not drive to and from work. He worked as a stock clerk at the River Rouge Ford Plant, quite a distance from home. He caught the bus. According to Google maps that trip takes over an hour now. Bus or streetcar service might have been more direct in the old days. I hope it was. The car was used on the weekends to do errands on Saturday and to go to Church on Sunday. I remember riding in Lizzie with my grandfather to go to Plymouth Church where he was a founder, a Deacon and the man who fixed the furnace and put up bulletin boards and everything between. We would run around and explore the empty church while he worked.

My sister Pearl’s memory

I remember the back window had a little shade you could pull down. I remember loving the running board because you could stand up on them and look around before climbing in. And I remember when we went with Ma and Poppy to trade it in and one of the doors flew open. I wish they’d kept it. (Note: As I remember it, the car door the door of our old gray Ford Betsy flew open as we drove into the parking lot to trade it in on a later model used car, not Lizzie.)

Car/train crash
From my grandfather’s notebook.

Car struck by M.C. (note:  Michigan Central) engine  Mar. 10th 1935
At 2:15 P.M. Doris in car with me.
No one hurt very bad.
Doris received small cut on left hand
M.C. RR settled for $25.00 part cost on fixing car.

Sunday, March 10, 1935 was a cold, rainy spring day. My grandfather and my twelve year old mother, Doris were on the way home. They were crossing the railroad tracks when they were struck by a Michigan Central railway engine.

My sister Pearl remembers: The train was backing up. They were crossing the tracks headed home. Poppy didn’t see it because it was on his blind eye side. Ma saw it but didn’t want to hurt his feelings by telling him. How crazy is that?!?!?

Lizzie crosses the tracks a few blocks from home before being struck.

 

all of us at zoo
Some of us rode in Lizzie to the zoo. Marilyn in front, Barbara and Pearl next; in back row, my mother, my aunt MV, Cousin Dee Dee and me. About 1956.

Cousin Marilyn’s memories

My cousin Marilyn was the youngest of the cousins. Before she started school she used to spend the week at my grandparents while her parents worked. Poppy would drive her back home for the weekend. Her memories are below.

Marilyn and Poppy about this time.

Hey cuz, yes I remember LIzzie, the dark blue car!? I was always embarrassed to be in that old car when Poppy would bring me home to Mama’s for the weekend. I was just a little girl. I remember ducking down in the seat when we would come down Calvert. Those mean kids would say “Why your Grandpa got that old car? It’s so ugly!” Or something to that effect.

My cousin Dee Dee had so many memories, I gave her a separate post here -> Lizzie Part 2
How to identify Model “A”

Cars
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Sailing Log Detroit River – 1970

Today day I am going to share my mother’s boating log. In 1970, when this log was written, my mother Doris Graham Cleage was 46 and taught reading at Duffield Elementary School. Henry was 54 and Deputy Director of Neighborhood Legal Services. They lived in a two family flat on Fairfield, near the University of Detroit. My maternal grandparents lived in the flat downstairs.

In July 1970, they bought a used sailboat. They docked it at the Memorial Park Marina, now called Erma Henderson Marina and no longer in use.

Detroit River from the deck

5/16 Henry sails in heavy seas with former owner Lindquist – Bell Harbor, New Baltimore to Bun (note: not clear) Sailboats, St. Clair Shores.

5/21 Henry and Hugh sailed from Bun (note: not clear) Sailboats, St. Clair Shores, to Memorial Park Marina (Spent 2 hours trying to start motor – found gas was not connected!) – Lonnie and I met – I went to meeting. – Lonnie brought Barbara (his wife) back – all had chicken and wine on boat!

5/23 Henry & Doris out alone – turned wrong way – banged around north end of marina – saved by all – tacked up American Channel – a thousand tacks – I had no gloves – hands in shreds – turned back near water Sutake (note: not clear) tower.

Boat in dock. Jeffersonian apartments behind, Kean apartment to the left. I was able to identify the marina using those buildings.

5/25 Henry, Doris, Hugh out – banged around marina! Doris insisted on staying in river (!) – tacked like mad – disorganized – returned to shore to organize crew – vowed to do better.

(All betimes Henry and Hugh worked on motor – fixed door – began to sand for varnishing – bought blue towels for curtains and pillows.)

5/30 Henry, Doris and Hugh – went out to try to empty head at Mobil at end of channel – water churned to froth by 50,000 cruisers bounced around – came back – no sail.

First mate – Doris Graham Cleage

6/19 Henry, Doris and Lonnie – sailed out jib alone just over edge of lake and back.

6/20 Henry, Doris, Hugh, Ernie – sailed out – dumped – wind died – limped in – saw others wing and wing – they looked like galleons – discovered whisker pole – resolved to use it at earliest opportunity!

6/22 Henry, Doris, Hugh – out into Lake St. Clair – Doris refused rope, when leaving dock, asked where is my pole? – all small ropes still tied, on jib furler, on mainsail – captain tacked back and forth across freighter channel – Hugh almost ran down black pirate boat – had bologna sandwiches, oreos, peaches, milk, coffee, gin – mainsail stops twisted – captain had to straighten out on high seas!

Captain Henry Cleage

6/27 – Hugh, Henry and Doris out to sail – no wind – fathometer broken – Hugh and Henry fixed – good thing because decided to motor about Peche Isle where depths are 1 – 2 ft out to 1,000 ft and 4 – 5 ft a few yards from shore – also 35 ft depths (!) near 405 ones – found nice anchorage on South side – close enough to swim – but no suits – so, ate, laid around and came back.

6/28 Ernie, Hugh, Hugh and Doris at dock to see unlimited hydroplane races – wild – Thelma and Bowman on Board later.

Marina, Belle Isle Bridge, Peche Island, Lake St. Claire, Detroit River, labeled.

6/30 Very hot – 98 degrees – no wind – motored down river to Belle Isle Bridge for first time – lovely cool ride- equally cool docking and undocking – Lonnie, Barbara, Henry and Doris.

7/3 Bought dinghy at Sears – now can anchor and go into Peche – swabbed whole boat first time – also vacuumed second time – now ship-shape and shinning – and thunderstorm after thunderstorm – hard to restrain captain who insists, “Weather does not matter to a seaworthy craft and a skilled captain.” Hear! Hear! and Right on! But I was scared! So we stayed dockside. stowed well away from shallows – sailed to 82 degrees 47′ W at 20 degree angle usually – First Mate sent to galley. – sort of rocky down there altho’ not on deck – fixed sandwiches but couldn’t eat (!) recovered quickly on deck – liverwurst was delicious – turned back – near sunset – wind began to die – started across freighter channel – HUGE BARGE advancing rapidly – Captain made speeches about “right of way” – refused to start motor – barge gave us 5 short blasts (note: Five short and rapid blasts = “Danger signal, I do not understand your intentions”)– Captain capitulated – started motor – ended trip with usual perfect docking.

P. S. – at one point in voyage captain to first mate – “Take in the jib.” First Mate to Captain, “How much?” Look of complete disbelief on Captain’s face – he is at loss for words. I thought he wanted me to furl the jib – he meant winch it in tighter. Narrowly missed being keelhauled!

7/9 Note from radio: add 34″ to depths shown on chart #400 Lake St. Clair! What it mean?

Captain Henry

7/10 Nautical catalogs arrived – Capt. was so engrossed he read them all thru dinner! First mate furious.

7/11 Henry, Hugh & Doris out on calm day – captain offered Doris sun glasses instead of rope as we left dock. Cruised happily out into lake – noted strange black, orange white can buoys – navigator almost fainted – we were crossing Grosse Pointe Dumping Grounds – never, never land with completely uncertain depths – naturally we crossed it diagonally – and made it just as the wind gave up – dragged to Peche Isle – anchored Canadian side Henry and Hugh inflated dinghy – Capt took first trip – rain began – brief shower – made it home. – First mate denied daily tot of rum because she dropped boat book in water – luckily it floated,

7/12 Henry and Doris out alone – beautiful sail to end of Belle Isle, – 5-6 mph – really lifted out of water – reaching on SW wind, – suddenly saw huge black cloud looming over Grosse Pointe – First mate screamed, “Take me home NOW!”- Captain said, “Oh, it’s nothing’ the weatherman said today would be nice.” – Then sun went out – thunder rolled- lightening zagged – First mate and captain sprang into action – furled jib – hauled down main – motored madly with seven thousand other fear crazed Sunday sailors down river – made it into dock drenched to skin – as 60 mph gusts of wind made Henry, Warren Hawking and Crawford Smith putting all muscle on boat to attach back lines – she had nosed into dock at tool chest and refused to budge – finally got her tied down – very wet inside and out- home – hot showers – lovely evening followed lovely sail.

7/26 On board – Henry and Doris. Beautiful Sunday. Captain assured first mate on long trip planned. Set out on short sail – ended in Belle River, Ontario – for the night. Fifteen miles of very close reaching in five hours – and three hours covered same distance Monday morning – docking was cool – sleep was good after young folks finally left park at 1:30 a.m. – our first overnight trip.

Belle River

8/1 Brisk winds -choppy waves – tough, Captain – rough sail! – scuppers awash – First mate developed weak trembles – Captain cool!

8/2 On board, Hugh, Henry and Doris. Same weather as 8/1 – rough – but no scuppers (note: an opening in the side walls of a vessel, allows water to drain instead of pooling ) awash this time – good trip.

8/6 Out to Lake St. Clair – Henry and Doris – fussed! – back to dock!

Location of Riverside Marina in Ontario, Canada. Erma Henderson Marina = Memorial Park Marina

8/7 Out again. Henry and Doris. No fuss – anchored off Riverside, Canada.

Doris and Henry’s brother Hugh.

8/8 Hugh, Henry and Doris out in choppy St. Clair to Belle River – much fighting waves – found Belle River jammed with boats – docked cooly – tied with many a rope.

8/9 Awoke Sunday to brisk wind over starboard stern – very heavy seas- warped her around cooly at dock – rolled madly as soon as we left breakwater – white caps – 2-4 feet rolling waves – made 4-5 mph on jib, alone until wind died at Peche Isle – waves rolled under all the way – captain did masterful job of keeping course and running directly in front of large swells which increased our speed 1 mph when they passed under us – sort of a roller coasted ride home – with accent on the roll! Good trip!

END OF LOG

Jilo fast asleep on our sailboat while Henry and Hugh babysit”

The only thing I remember about this visit of my daughter and myself to the boat is that we didn’t go out on the river because Jilo was too little for a life jacket. She was about a year old.

Not long after, they sold the boat. Henry had pictured solitary days of sailing, stopping here and there to enjoy the peace and quiet. Unfortunately there were always many other boats out there.

sepia saturday boats
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Links

Marine Chart of the area covered in the Log.

Memories of Grandmother Turner

My great grandmother, Jennie Virginia Allen, was born October 1, 1866 in Montgomery Alabama, seven months after the end of the Civil War and the ratification of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. She was the forth child of formerly enslaved Eliza and Dock Allen. Her mother was a seamstress and her father was a carpenter. The girls were taught the seamstress trade while the boys were taught the carpenters trade. She married Howard Turner in 1887 when she was 20 and Howard was 23. My grandmother Fannie was born the following year. According to the 1940 Census she completed the sixth grade.

Below are my mother’s memories of her grandmother.

Grandmother Jennie Virginia Turner. No idea who that is crouched in the car!

Memories of grandmother

By Doris Graham Cleage

Today I’m going to write about Grandmother.  Grandmother Turner was born about 1872, nine years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Don’t know if she finished high school – but she did go. Her mother taught her to sew and it was a good thing she did because grandmother worked the rest of her life supporting herself and her children at sewing.  That is, she worked after husband Howard Turner died. They married when she was about sixteen. Don’t know his age.  He looked something like grandmother’s father and also like my father, mother said.  He was a farmer’s son from around Hayneville, AL, but he preferred the big city – Montgomery.  His father had three sons and planned to give each one a large share of the farm when they married.  Howard and Jenny received their farm, but neither one liked the country. One day they were in Montgomery.  He was at a Bar-B-Q.  She was at her parents with their daughters, Fannie Mae, 4, and Daisy Pearl, 2.  someone brought word that he had been shot dead.  Apparently no one ever knew who did it, but mother always said grandmother thought his father had it done because he was angry that Howard would not farm and had even been talking about selling his part.  The father did not want the land sold, but wanted it to stay in the family forever.  (Bless his heart!).  He and the son had had some terrible arguments before they left to come to the Bar-B-Q. I often wondered why he was there and grandmother wasn’t.  She always seemed to like a good time.

I remember her laughing and singing and dancing around the house on Theodore. She was short, about five feet I guess, with brown eyes, thin dark brown hair that she wore in a knot. She was very energetic, always walking fast.  She always wore oxfords, often on the wrong feet, and never had time to change them.  We used to love to tell her that her shoes were on the wrong feet.  (smart kids!)

Grandmother Jennie Turner with daughter’s family, Mary V, Fannie, Doris.
In back Howard and father Mershell Graham. Detroit about 1932

She never did things with us like read to us or play with us, but she made us little dresses.  I remember two in particular she made me that I especially liked.  My “candy-striped” dress – a red white and blue small print percale.  She put a small pleated ruffle around the collar and a larger one around the bottom. I was about five, I guess, and I really thought I was cool!  The other favorite was an “ensemble” – thin, pale green material with a small printed blue green and red flower in it – just a straight sleeveless dress with neck and sleeves piped in navy blue – and a three – quarter length coat of the same material – also straight -with long sleeves and lapels – also piped in navy blue.  She never used a pattern.  Saw something and made it!  She taught us some embroidery, which she did beautifully but not often. She never fussed at us – never criticized – and I think she rocked me in the upstairs hall on Theodore when I was little and sick.  The rocker Daddy made stood in that hall.  I remember lots of people rocking in that chair when I was small.

"Jennie Allen Turner funeral"
This photograph was taken in Montgomery during 1892 while the family was in mourning. Jennie holds two year old Daisy while four year old Fannie stands beside her.

Grandmother went to work when her husband was murdered – sewing for white folks – out all day fitting and sewing – and sewing all night – finishing while mother and Daisy stayed with their Grandfather Allen, who would tell on them when Grandmother came home and she would spank them.  Mother said she remembered telling Daisy to holler loudly so Grandmother wouldn’t spank them hard or long and it worked!

"Jennie Allen Turner and Daughters"
Fannie, Jennie (mother) Alice. Daisy standing. Montgomery, Alabama.

Grandmother stayed single until she was about 37 or 38 when she married someone Mother hated – looked Italian, hardly ever worked.  Liked a good time. Fathered Alice and left when she was very small.  Somehow when mother spoke of him I had the feeling he would have like to have taken advantage of her.  She was about 20 and had given up two college scholarships to stay and help Grandmother.

Alice with Easter basket. It looks like she has already had polio.

Sometimes after her husband’s death, Grandmother took the deed to the farm to a white lawyer. (was there any other kind?) and told him to sell it for her.  He went to see it and check it out – told her to forget it – her title wasn’t clear, but he never gave the deed back and she figured he made a deal with her father-in-law. (The rest of the land story.)

Dog trot cabin

 Aunt Abbie (note: Jennie’s sister) said the father-in-law built Grandmother and Howard a “shotgun” house on the farm.  She would turn up her nose as she said it.  You know that is a house like this – no doors on front or back, you could shoot a gun through hall without damage.  Animals (pigs, dogs) would wander into the hall and have to be driven out.  Aunt Abbie only stayed there when the plague was raging in Montgomery.  Yellow fever (malaria) and/or polio every summer.  Many people sick or dying.  Huge bonfires in the streets every night to ‘purify’ the air”, and closing the city if it got bad enough – no one in or out.  More than once they fled the city in a carriage through back streets and swamps because they were caught by the closing which was done suddenly to keep folks from leaving and spreading the “plague”

"Jennie Annis Furs"
Jennie Turner 2nd row on right end. Alice next to her. Daisy in center of that row.

In Detroit, when they came in 1923 when Mother and Daddy had bought the house on Theodore and had room for them (room? only 5 adults and 3 children!)  Grandmother, Daisy and Alice got good jobs, (they were good – sewing fur coats, clean work and good pay.) at Annis Furs (remember it back of Hudsons?)  and soon had money to buy their own house much farther east on a “nice” street in a “better ” neighborhood (no factories) on Harding Ave. While they lived with us I remember violent arguments between Alice and I don’t know who – either Grandmother or Daisy or Mother.  Certainly not Daddy because when he spoke it was like who in the Bible who said, “When I say go, they goeth. When I say come, they cometh.”  Most of the time I remember him in the basement, the backyard or presiding at table. Daisy and grandmother were what we’d call talkers.

"Daisy, Jennie and Fannie"
Daisy Turner, Jennie Turner and Fannie Turner Graham

Grandmother got old, hurt her knee, it never healed properly. Daisy worked and supported the house alone. Alice only worked a little while.  She had problems getting along with people.  Grandmother was eventually senile.  Died of a stroke at 83 or so. Alice spent years taking care of her while Daisy worked. Daisy added to their income by being head numbers writer at Annis!! 

I got this from Wikipedia about playing the numbers. “The numbers game, also known as the numbers racket, the policy racket, the Italian lottery, the policy game, or the daily number, is a form of illegal gambling or illegal lottery played mostly in poor and working class neighborhoods in the United States, wherein a bettor attempts to pick three digits to match those that will be randomly drawn the following day. In recent years, the “number” would be the last three digits of “the handle”, the amount race track bettors placed on race day at a major racetrack, published in racing journals and major newspapers in New York.

Gamblers place bets with a bookmaker (“bookie”) at a tavern, bar, barber shop, social club, or any other semi-private place that acts as an illegal betting parlor. Runners carry the money and betting slips between the betting parlors and the headquarters, called a numbers bank or policy bank. The name “policy” is based on the similarity to cheap insurance, which is also a gamble on the future.[1]”

I think the numbers writer – Daisy in this case, would take the bets in the store (the numbers people picked and their bet money) and pass them along to the numbers runner, who would take them to the center. She would get a cut.

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Our New Refrigerator – 1948

Ice box. Ice cost $8 a month.

In 1948 I was almost two years old and I lived in Springfield, Massachusetts. My family had an ice box. The ice cost $2 a week and was delivered daily. I don’t actually remember ice being delivered by horse wagon, but that’s how it worked. Ice came in blocks 25, 50, 75 0r 100 pounds, depending on the size of your ice box. We were a bit behind the average because by 1944 85% of households in the USA owned a refrigerator.

According to an online article, the ice rested on a metal corrugated shelf which allowed for the ice to melt with the water passing through a tube in the bottom of the compartment to a flat pan located under the icebox to catch the water. Some finer models had spigots for draining ice water from a catch pan or holding tank. People would lift the bottom flap, empty the water pan, and replace the pan for the next day’s use.

That summer, we spent three week visiting family in Detroit. While there discussion took place between my paternal grandparents and my parents about purchasing an electric refrigerator to replace our ice box in Springfield.

Steiger’s Department store in 1947

When we had returned home to Springfield, my mother and I went downtown to Steigers Department store and bought an electric refrigerator on time. Below is a letter she wrote to my paternal grandparents about the purchase. It is transcribed below the image.

July 17, 1948

Dear Folks,

Well – Kris and I went down to Steigers and bought the refridgerator yestereday- to the tune of $315.00! Can you imagine? I had been thinking in terms of $200! It is a G.E. De Luxe 8 ft. (medium size) and is certainly beautiful. They also had a Philco – same size – same everything – but only $277.00. I sort of favored it, but I called Toddy and he said (from the bed of course) “G. E. – period!” So it will be delivered next Wednesday.

The store gave us a ten percent ministers discount of $31.50. Carrying charges came to about $20 – so final price was about $304. Down payment was $56.70 and beginning August we’ll make eighteen monthly payments of $13.80. That should hardly be felt because ice comes to amost $8 a month and I’m sure I’ll save more than $5 on food – to say nothing of convenience and peace of mind!

Kris is completely recovered and she told me yesterday – “That’s the way” – then smiled and said “Gamma.” Then she said “Gamma’s hat” and pointed to her head.” What hat does she remember? The black shiny one at the station? Anyway she looked pleased about it.

Write soon, Doris

In my mind, I can still hear my grandmother Cleage saying “Dat’s de way!” as she did to the littlest ones.

My stylish grandparents – Albert and Pearl Cleage. He is wearing the rakish white hat and she is wearing the stylish black hat, with a feather. Was that the hat I remembered? It is very memorable.
June 1948 during that trip to Detroit at my maternal grandparent’s house.

My grandmother Fannie, my grandfather Mershell and my mother Doris. I am standing on the table. I was 22 months old. My mother was about three months pregnant with my little sister Pearl.

This is the same refrigerator still working fine in 1962. My mother standing in front of it 14 years later.

That refrigerator was still going strong when I moved out on my own in 1969. When my parents left Detroit in 1975 and moved to a house that had a more modern fridge they left it behind. That new one, I might add, did not last as long as the one my mother bought in 1948.

This is the inside of the refrigerator. The freezer is that door on the right. There were two ice cube trays.
Ice cube tray. You had to run a bit of warm water on it to get the ice cubes out.
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Links to related posts

K is for King St. Springfield, MASS

Cousins Christened – 1948

1948 Sears Christmas Book – add for refrigerator

An “At Home” In Honor of Chicago Visitors

"At Home Eliza's descendents"
Hosts and guests posed for photograph. My mother, Doris Graham is the first on the far left. Her sister Mary V. is second from the right. Publisher James McCall is right in the middle.
"At Home Eliza's Descendants verso"
Verso of Photograph
From the Detroit Tribune

“This is not the picture of a family reunion, although all in the group, with the exception of one intimate friend, are relatives who stood in the receiving line or assisted otherwise at the “At Home” given Monday evening, December 26 from 6 to 9 o’clock, at the McCall’s residence on Parker avenue, the affair was in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Howard, of Chicago, brother and sister of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. McCall and Mrs Robert F. Johnson, a sister, greeted guests at the door, while Miss Mary Virginia Graham, a cousin, acted as registrar. Mrs. Moses L. Walker, a sister, introduced the guests to the host and hostess, who in turn presented them to others in the receiving line – Dr. and Mrs. Howard, the honorees; Miss Victoria McCall, daughter; Miss Louise McCall, niece, of Chicago; and Miss Mignon Walker, also a niece. Mrs. William Hawthorn, a friend of the family, presided at the punch bowl, assisted by Miss Doris Graham, a cousin of the McCalls; and Miss Margaret McCall, a daughter. At the close of the reception, the principals and assistants stood together and were snapped by the camera. They are left to right: Doris Graham, Mignon Walker, Louise McCall, Victoria McCall, Dr. and Mrs J. E. McCall, Mrs. M. I. Walker, ( not named was Margaret McCall) Mrs R. F. Johnson, Mary Virginia Graham and Mrs. William Blackburn.”

The Detroit Tribune, Detroit, Michigan 31 Dec 1938, Sat  •  Page 5

The Detroit Tribune was published by James E. McCall and his wife, Margaret Walker McCall. He was also a poet and had lost his sight while attending college after having typhoid fever.

The links below take you to more information about various people in the photograph.

Victoria McCall interviews Eleanor Roosevelt in 1945
1940 Census – James and Margaret McCall and Family
James Edward McCall, Poet and Publisher 1880 – 1963
Interview With Mignon Walker Brown & 3 Hats
Otillia McCall Howard
Louise and Ronnie
Mary Virginia Graham – Social Reporter
Doris Graham, High School Senior – 1940
F – FAMILY, MY GRAHAMS in the 1920 Census
My Mother in the News

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L – Leaves

This is my ninth year of blogging the A to Z Challenge. Everyday I will share something about my family’s life during 1950. This was a year that the USA federal census was taken and the first one that I appear in. At the end of each post I will share a book from my childhood collection.

Pearl, our mother Doris, Kristin (Me). October 1950. Springfield, Massachusetts

Now and Then

Golden leaves fell in the bushes 
overnight brightening my yard. 
Behind my eyes, 
I walk beside a river 
with my mother.  Trees all golden. 
A dog splashes in the water, 
 shakes  himself . 
My four year old self 
watches.
Lucky Mrs. Ticklefeather

I – I Was There!

This is my ninth year of blogging the A to Z Challenge. Everyday I will share something about my family’s life during 1950. This was a year that the USA federal census was taken and the first one that I appear in. At the end of each post I will share a book from my childhood collection.

I wrote about being in the 1950 Census ten years ago. Let’s see what I got right and what I got wrong. The first post was I was there.

My father, Albert B. Cleage, was 38 years old and he had worked 60 hours during the past week a pastor of a Congregational Church, not a Methodist church as it says in the 1950 census. He was born in Indiana. He and all members of the family were identified as Negro.

Census Sheet from 1950 Census Archives. Some people were asked extra questions. The red line leads from those family members to the extras. Pearl actually appeared on the next page, but for ease of viewing, I’ve added her to this page. Click to enlarge.

My mother, Doris G. Cleage, was 27. She was a housewife and her hours were not recorded. She was born in Michigan. She got to answer the extra questions and they show that the family lived in the same place the year before and that she had completed 4 years of college.

I, Kristin, was three years old. My younger sister Pearl who appears on the next page, was 1. We were both born in Massachusetts.

So, I didn’t get anything wrong, although the census did, getting the denomination wrong.

I Can Fly

I remember reading this book to my younger cousin Marilyn years later. She eventually memorized the book.

____________

I am also participating in the Genealogy Blog 1950s Blog Party hosted by Elizabeth Swanay O’Neal, “The Genealogy Blog Party: Back to the 1950s,” Heart of the Family™ https://www.thefamilyheart.com/genealogy-blog-party-1950s/

D – Democracy & Doris

This is my ninth year of blogging the A to Z Challenge. Everyday I will share something about my family’s life during 1950. This was a year that the USA federal census was taken and the first one that I appear in. At the end of each post I will share a book from my childhood collection.

My mother helping me hold my many dolls. Notice that Pearl always has only one doll.

Democracy is Not ‘Separate’

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To the Editor of The Union:

Sir: In answer to “Home Owner” whose letter appeared June 21, there are three things I would point out. First, Americans believe in democracy, which means equality for all people — not separate equality, but plain and simple equality.

Second, no matter which way you look at it, Negroes are people just like other people. If at times they seem different, it is because misguided people like you have forced them to live under “separate” subhuman conditions.

Third, from coast to coast in the North of this country Negro people and white people live, work, play and worship together in happiness and in peace because there are Americans who believe in democracy, Christianity and love, and are big enough to live by them.

Doris Graham Cleage
Springfield

Below is the letter my mother was responding to.

The Race Problem and Housing

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To the Editor of The Union:

Sir: In regard to the colored people buying homes among the white home owners, would first say, personally, I have nothing against them, for there are many fine folk among these people; but is it fair and right to us homeowners, who have worked to keep up our own homes, pay taxes, and make improvements within the laws of this city?

Do we have no voice in this matter, when we are being forced out? Would the city fathers, who advocate the merging of the two races here in this city, wish to live in the same neighborhood?

In a neighborhood supposed to be made up of happy congenial people, would the colored people be happy among us, and would we be? I have no doubt we would not. Our only alternative will be to sell to them, and try to start over. Why doesn’t the city build proper housing conditions for them in a district of their own? Is it too late?

Would like to hear how other home owners feel concerning this problem.

HOME OWNER

Springfield

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Meanwhile, as a three year old, I was oblivious.

The Surprise Doll.